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Classic "capitalist realist" drama showing the manufacture of Chevrolets from foundry to finished vehicles. Though ostensibly a tribute to the "master hands" of the assembly line workers, it seems more of a paean to the designers of this impressive mass production system. Filmed in Flint, Michigan, just months before the United Auto Workers won union recognition with their famous sitdown strikes. Selected for the 1999 National Film Registry of "artistically, culturally, and socially significant" films.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Handy (Jam) Organization
Sponsor: Chevrolet Motor Company
Audio/Visual: Sd, B&W
Keywords: Automobiles: Manufacturing; Labor: 1930s; Occupations: Automotive
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: Auto Plant in the 30's
Actually this plant is (was) in Flint, MI, not Detroit. A great look see at what goes into a basic car engine - including the tooling and die casting steps. Too bad parts of the process of assembly are not available here; it would be interesting to see. The very last scene is apparently a shot done in California as evidenced by the eucalypts lining the road...those are not found in Michigan.
This 1937 model still has some of that "Model T" look of the 20's (except for that engine) something that Chrysler Corp had pretty much done away with by this time. Stylewise framewise, and suspensionwise the '37 Plymouth was a honey compared to this product. (see one of the other clips - I don't recall the title).
This is about 15 - 20 years before Flint hit its economic peak with several huge GM complexes, after which plants were moved out or downsized, and these fellas would gradually be gettin laid off one by one til today, when nobody there works.
A Jam Handy classic - and I think one its very best productions. Not to mention, another very interesting look at life in the 1930's. Whatta find!
Subject: Where's the missing 5 minutes and 41 seconds?
This is a great video to watch and get some idea of what it was like to work in Detroit back then. The film length is listed in IMDB as being 33 minutes in length, the four sections listed only account for 27 minutes and 19 seconds. According to the shotlist, the material seems to be missing between the third and fourth section. The missing section would show work on the brakes, wheel rims, spokes, shaping the side members. I sure would like to see that missing footage.
Subject: Watch you fingers!
A must see for the auto enthusiast. Film starts with firing up the boilers and generators, and production is under way. Excellent footage of engine block casting. Very interesting crankshaft forging footage. Those things were very hot, and heavy too. Great body panel and fender stamping. A frame line was extensively showcased, and cutting edge technology it was! Get a load of the guys standing between those riveting machine heads! Yikes! And yes, I too wanted to see some body line footage, oops. Great stuff from beginning to end showing massive stamping presses and the power of our heavy manufacturing. A few years after this was filmed, the Chrysler Lynch Rd plant reached a production rate of one car per minute! A fantastic showcase showing Detroit as it starts to hit full modern stride!
Make sure you get all four parts of this!
Subject: Off the production line we go!
Excellent montage documentary which essentially builds an automobile from scratch. We watch, as the Detroit Philharmonic plays (excellent music I might add) as it starts from the foundry, pounding out metal for the cars, to screwing on nuts, to fitting everything in place. It's also an awesome showcase of the production line, and how mind-numbing it all must have been. While I was watching this, I felt SOMEWHAT gypped that I didn't see ALL the production happen, like the main cabin of the car floats out of nowhere onto the chassis. Like, where was the production of that? That's a minor point though. See this. It's Important. A Must See on this site!